It was a pleasure to read this morning that there is more serious attention being brought to plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV).  Felix Kramer of CalCars posted a story on the website that was written by John O’Dell, Senior Editor at Edmunds: PHEV Conversions Slow to Catch On in U.S., But Could Be Big Elsewhere; Low Cost ‘Revolo’ Hybridization Kit Could Boost India’s Presence in Gas-Electric Arena. 

Selling new hybrids and electric vehicles helps slow our use of oil and reduce air pollution and CO2 emissions from transportation, but it will take decades to sell enough to meaningfully dilute the impact of the nearly 1 billion internal combustion vehicles on the world’s roads today. But convert many of those existing vehicles to electric drive and the impact could be tremendous and immediate. That’s been the message that plug-in advocates such as CalCars founder Felix Kramer and University of California engineering professor Andy Frank have been preaching for years.  That is why I am trying to trumpet that cause with my book Build Your Own Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle.  If you have a reputable company that can convert the car with a real technology and warranty package what else is there?!

According to Kramer’s research ALTe, a Michigan company has been showing a prototype converted Ford F150 pickup in which the standard gas engine has been replaced with a modular system consisting of a smaller internal combustion engine and an electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack.

There are other companies too like:

offer conversion systems that use the vehicles’ existing engines and transmissions and add the necessary batteries and electric drive components. CalCars maintains a list of U.S. plug-in hybrid conversion providers­ice-conversions.html

ALTe, which charges about $25,000 for its F-150 conversion, can only qualify for a $2,500 federal tax credit while the new factory-built Chevrolet Volt PHEV and Nissan Leaf battery-electric vehicle each will qualify for a $7,500 credit.  Why??  That doesn’t make sense.  It we can make an F-150 clean and it’s a bigger job, why not include old cars too, except making an F-150 a cash for clunker

I agree with Kramer that we should be taking our old cars and converting them one at a time as well as supporting new EVs and PHEVs.  It really is the best way to look at our automotive fleet of cars out there since there are millions and millions of trucks, pickups, SUVs and Humvees that need EV and PHEV conversions today.  Not tomorrow..TODAY!

Yet, “the maximum federal credit” for a conversion is $4,000 and most- like the ALTe system – qualify for much less. The federal formula is a credit of 10 percent of the conversion cost up to a maximum of $4,000 – for a $40,000 conversion.

But things are moving along, albeit slowly. At Alte, company marketing director Brian Polowniak told us recently that he expects to have several announcements to make by late summer, including word on the disposition of his company’s application for a $100-million loan guarantee from the federal government’s advanced technology vehicle manufacturing program that will help ALTe build a factory to begin turning out a stream of plug-in conversions. Also in the works: a distribution deal with a major auto dealership chain.

And in India, the new aftermarket hybridization kit, called the Revolo system (right, taken from “revolution”), is slated to go on sale by the end of the year. Its developers claim it can increase the typical Indian-market passenger car’s fuel economy by 40 percent while reducing CO2 output by more than 30 percent. Once the business model is proven in India, Pandit told us, the companies expect to go global with the system.

We need to be building these kits for PHEVs now.  Stimulus money needs to go to that versus bridges to nowhere!

To hear that a company called Revolu came up with a plug-in hybrid conversion kit for a small car in Europe or the U.S. could cost as little at $5,000 using lead-acid batteries I could not believe it.  Wake up America; common!!!

The low-cost, easy-to-install kits they are building will make PHEV conversions accessible to most people in the U.S., said Kramer – who also believes that it will take the development of smaller and more powerful batteries and inexpensive in-wheel electric motors to truly make U.S. passenger car conversions work, as there is little room on most cars to day to add an electric motor and a battery pack.

Kramer adds that commercial fleets look at total cost of ownership over many years and many miles, so a higher initial purchase cost isn’t that much of a concern if the vehicle saves money on maintenance and fuel.” And if the U.S. doesn’t get on the ball – private business and government alike – Kramer worries, pointing to efforts such as Revolo, then fleet operators may be purchasing their conversion systems, or converted vehicles, from overseas suppliers in the electric-drive industry’s repeat of the Asian takeover of the small-car business in the U.S.

More About Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles from The Green Living Guy

The Prius You Can Plug In

Events Rundown: National & California Plus New Global Campaigns by Felix Kramer from

Toyota and New York City will join the company’s U.S. Prius Plug-in Hybrid vehicle (PHV) demonstration program.  

3 Responses

  1. The electric car projects are just a scam to get a certain group of VC's to control the lithium fields in Afghanistan! He who controls the electric cars controls the trillions of dollars of lithium revenues. It is just like oil all over again.Dmitry Medvedev Came to Silicon Valley on June 22, 2010 and met with some of the venture capital companies that helped lobby the leverage for the electric car companies that just got funded. Only the car companies got funded that would play in this scheme.Ener1 Battery Systems who got zillions of the dollars from DOE per the Loan Guarantee and ATVM Director Seward.Is controlled in part by Russian “business man” Boris Zingarevich.Who is best friends with the Russian Dmitry Medvedev, who arranged for all of Russia to extend current agreements signed with foreign automakers between 2005 and 2008 granting preferential duties on imported components for eight years in return for sourcing 30 percent of parts locally, the Industry and Trade Ministry said. Once those arrangements expire, the carmakers would need to commit to buying 60 percent of components in Russia within six years to get more tax breaks.Dmitry also appears to own interest in lots of Lithium processing and mining company technology in Russia which is pretty close to Afghanistan.Afghanistan is: the "Saudi Arabia’ of lithium". American geologists have discovered huge mineral deposits (Many $1 trillion of dollars worth) throughout Afghanistan, according to the New York Times. Lithium, gold, cobalt, copper, iron, among other valuable minerals are lying beneath what is already a war-torn country with little history with mining. Off and on over the decades, geologists—Soviet, Afghan, American—would investigate and chart some of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth, only to put the work on hold as violent conflict erupted. Now, corruption, in-fighting between the central and district governments, foreign interests, and greater zeal from the Taliban might come into play to disrupt a potential economy evolving around these natural resources. With the Ministry of Mines, a Pentagon task force is now helping organize a way of handling the mineral development and bidding rights. How this unfolds socially, environmentally and politically should be interesting.The New York Times reports: The value of the newly discovered mineral deposits dwarfs the size of Afghanistan’s existing war-bedraggled economy, which is based largely on opium production and narcotics trafficking as well as aid from the United States and other industrialized countries. Afghanistan’s gross domestic product is only about $12 billion. The two most prevalent minerals are copper and iron. Niobium, used for making superconducting steel, has also been found.The effort to get that money for Ener1 was strong armed by Republican Sen. Richard G. Lugar, one of the deans of Congress, and his junior colleague, Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh.Richard Lugar and Lachlan Seward co-managed the Chrysler Bail-out.Lachlan Seward was appointed by George Bush to run all of the tens of billions for the DOE ATVM and Loan Guarantee Programs. He & Matt Rogers gave most of the money away to their closely aligned interests and negated competing applicants. –Another place near Afghanistan that there is lot's of Lithium is in Mongolia. Blum Capital has targeted the Lithium fields in Mongolia, said to be the second largest fields after Afghanistan in the region. Mongolia touches Russia so mining and equipment access could first take place there via Russia. China wants the Mongolian Lithium too so there is some two-way bidding that each country (Russia and China) do not know about. The owner of Blum Capital is Senator Feinsteins husband. She recently made him the Goodwill Ambassador to Mongolia.Blum's wife, Senator Dianne Feinstein, has received scrutiny due to her husband's government contracts and extensive business dealings with China and her past votes on trade issues with the country. Blum has denied any wrongdoing, however. Critics have argued that business contracts with the US government awarded to a company (Perini) controlled by Blum may raise a potential conflict-of-interest issue with the voting and policy activities of his wife. URS Corp, which Blum had a substantial stake in, bought EG&G, a leading provider of technical services and management to the U.S. military, from The Carlyle Group in 2002; EG&G subsequently won a $600m defense contract. In 2009 it was reported that Blum's wife Sen. Dianne Feinstein introduced legislation to provide $25 billion in taxpayer money to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp, a government agency that had recently awarded her husband's real estate firm, CB Richard Ellis, what the Washington Times called "a lucrative contract to sell foreclosed properties at compensation rates higher than the industry norms." In 2009 the University of California Board of Regents, of which Blum is a member, voted to increase student registration fees (roughly the Univ. of California equivalent of tuition) by 32%. Shortly thereafter, Blum Capital Partners purchased additional stock in ITT Tech, a for-profit educational institution. These events suggest a conflict of interest on Blum's part.

  2. Thank you for the information about the politics of the electric car funding. However, for the politicians it might mean one thing but for the ev purist it's to get off of oil, clean our air and make transportation more efficient so we can save taxpayer dollars on oil. Plain and simple. That's why I got out of politics.